Building a College Class Schedule: Spacing Vs Blocking

Curious about building a college class schedule? Blocking and spacing both have their pros and cons. Here are some things to remember as you pick and choose your classes and times.

A college student working out his class schedule.

Block Scheduling

Block scheduling is very similar to high school schedules, where you attend one class and immediately head to the next after the first finishes.

Pro: There is Familiarity

If you’re a freshman heading to college, block scheduling can be a good idea as it’s what you’re most familiar with from high school.

Pro: It Frees Up Other Days

One of the best parts of blocking is the fact that it allows you to have several “free days,” where you may only have to attend one class or even none at all. This time should be used to study and complete homework, but it allows you to craft your own schedule on those off-days.

Con: It Can Cause Burnout on Those Days

The days you do have courses with a block schedule can be particularly tiring. If you have four classes on a single day, you could easily find yourself with 8+ hours of classes in a row with very little break time in between. A few days like this a week can be taxing and you could find yourself exhausted by the end of the day.

Con: You Absolutely Have to Be on Top of Time Management

Not only do you have to carefully manage your time on block days, you have to carefully manage your time on those off-days, too. While sleeping in may sound nice, you do need to wake up and take care of things. If you have a hard time keeping to a study and homework schedule, you could find the next block day rolls around and you’ve done very little work.

Spacing

Spacing on the other hand is a class schedule that allows you to spread your classes throughout the week and throughout the day. You may have a class at 10am and finish at 11:30am. Your next class may not start until 4pm.

Pro: You Have Time for Breaks.

Spaced schedules allow you to have time to relax mid-day, have lunch, walk across campus, not be in a hurry. You might also have time to head back to your dorm for a bit.

Pro: You May Find it Easier to Study

Since you just came from your math class, and your English class isn’t until 4pm, you have plenty of time to get on top of your math homework straight after the course. The recent class’s topic is fresh on your mind, making homework much easier. You can also opt to head to the library to work on classwork or studying before your next class.

Con: You Won’t Have Many “Off Days”

The biggest con that comes with spacing is that you may find you don’t have as many off days as you would with blocking. Your schedule is spread over five days instead of potentially three.

Con: It Can Make Your Days Longer

Block scheduling may result in one or two very long days, but spacing can actually result in several long days. You may have a class at 8am and an evening class at 5pm. If four or five days are like this a week, it can get very exhausting come Friday.

Building Your College Class Schedule

When choosing between blocking and spacing, it’s absolutely essential that you choose which schedule option works best for you. You may find that a mix of the two is actually what you need. However, it is important to note that you could be limited in your options based on your school and the way they schedule classes.

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